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Policies and their publics: discourses, actors and power

10th International Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) conference

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Published on Thursday, January 15, 2015


The Lille Center for European Research on Administration, Politics and Society (CERAPS, CNRS / Université Lille 2), together with Lille 2 University, Science Po Lille and the European Social Sciences and Humanities Research Institute (MESHS) will host the 10th International Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) conference under the title "Policies and their publics: discourses, actors and power" in Lille (France) from 8 July 2015 to 10 July 2015.



Anti-austerity protests in Southern Europe, the Occupy Movement in North America and Europe, to say nothing about the Vinegar Movement against the costs of hosting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, are recent examples of spectacular contestations against government programmes which are paradoxically justified as being in the public interest.  In a somewhat different vein, the widespread promotion of participatory democracy, at all levels of government, has spurred heated scholarly discussions regarding the 'democracy of the publics' (Manin, 1995).  As such, the tenth IPA conference is devoted to studying public policies through their publics.  The latter can best be understood as beneficiaries, recipients, and targets of public policies but also as stakeholders or participants in policy-making.  In other words, publics are products as well as policy actors insofar as they inform public judgment (Dewey, 1927).

Therefore, policy-making, whether it is local, national or international has to be embedded in the diversity of its publics.  Its analysis requires studying publics’ contribution to policy-making and, simultaneously, how publics are constructed in the process.  Citizens, users, clientele, interest groups, experts, spin doctors, think tanks, media, political parties, top ranking civil servants, street level bureaucrats… all of these groups or entities can be understood as the publics of policies.

Analysing policies through their publics allows us to reflect on a) policy legitimisation; b) policy categories and identities; c) public participation in policy-making. In this respect, the discursive dimension – at the heart of the IPA’s agenda – is highly relevant.

  • How do politicians, officials and experts liaise with the public(s) at various stages of policy-making? How is the public being spoken for (for instance through opinion polls or statistics)? How is it given a voice?
  • How are publics constructed and bounded by policies? To what extent are groups and identities shaped in the policy-making process (problem definition, policy narratives, interaction with street-level bureaucrats and so on)?
  • To what extent do policies divide the public between supporters and dissenters? How are publics expressing themselves, whether they are invited to or not? How effective are these discourses?

All in all, in order to reflect on the linkage between argumentation, decision and action whilst taking the status of speakers seriously, argumentative tools, devices and regimes as well as power struggles are to be taken into account.

Keynote speakers and round-table

We are delighted to announce the following confirmed keynote speakers :

  • Nina Eliasoph, Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California
  • Vincent Dubois, Professor of political science, Institute for political studies, University of Strasbourg, UMR SAGE.
  • A round-table will also be organized entitled “Magic and magicians in policy-making” on the role of argumentation in the 'enchantment' ‘or reenchantment’ of public policy.

Guidelines submission

Paper proposals may be submitted on the conference’s website from the 9th December 2014

to the 3rd February 2015.

Paper proposals will be evaluated by each panel chair and paper acceptance will be notified by mid March 2015.

Regarding accepted paper proposals, full papers will be due one month prior to the conference date: 1st June 2015.

Please note that the conference is panel-based. The list of the 69 selected panels can be found in the attached document or on the website with an abstract of each panel. All paper proposers are intended to locate the most appropriate panel for their work and submit their abstract there.

Selected papers from the conference may be considered for a special issue of Critical Policy Studies: editors are Frank Fischer (Rutgers University, USA) and Richard Freeman (Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA); Forum editors are Navdeep Mathur (Indian Institute of Management, India) and Douglas Torgerson (Trent University, Canada). To reach the editorial team of Critical Policy Studies, please contact Helen Hancock at h.i.hancock@bham.ac.uk.

Selected panels from the conference may be considered for publications in the Springer series entitled “Logic, Reasoning and Argumentation. Interdisciplinary approaches from the Humanities and Social Sciences” developed in partnership with the MESHS (http://www.springer.com/series/11547).

Note that a number of sessions will be devoted to methodological workshops. The workshop sessions are built on the idea of “master-classes” in musical studies, where two more experienced researchers will meet a small number of junior researchers to discuss issues regarding the use of a particular methodological strategy or method. Emphasis will be put on questions raised by young researchers whose research will be treated as case studies to generate and engage in relevant methodological issues. Once selected to take part in a workshop session, junior researchers will be asked to introduce their research project in a summary sheet (2 to 3 pages - max, double-spaced 12 point type); it will focus on particular difficulties or methodological issues that have arisen in their research and/or field experiences which researchers would like to be explored in the workshop.
If you wish to be considered for inclusion in a Methodology Workshop, please submit your proposal to the « Methodological workshop panel » (N°67)

In addition, a poster competition will be organised during the conference. If you wish to participate in the contest to present your doctoral work, you have to make a proposal in the "panel" « Poster competition » (N°68) with the title of your doctoral work and a short presentation of it.

Please bear in mind that it is possible to make a proposal for the methodological workshop and/or for the poster competition AND to submit a paper in a traditional panel as well.

Organising committee

  • Thomas Alam, CERAPS, University of Lille 2 (FR)
  • Isabelle Bruno, CERAPS, University of Lille 2 (FR)
  • Jean-Gabriel Contamin, CERAPS, University of Lille 2 (FR)
  • Anne-Cécile Douillet, CERAPS, University of Lille 2 (FR)
  • Sandrine Pinet-Chassagnard, CRDP, University of Lille 2(FR)
  • Shahid Rahman, STL, University of Lille 3 (FR)

Advisory Board

  • Anna Durnova, University of Vienna (AT)
  • Peter Feindt, Wageningen University (NL)
  • Frank Fischer, Rutgers University, New Jersey (USA) & Kassel University (DE)
  • Steven Griggs, De Montfort University at Leicester (UK)
  • Merlijn Van Hulst, Tilburg University and Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration (NL)
  • Navdeep Mathur, India Institute of Management School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University (Bangalore, IND)
  • Tamara Metze,Tilburg University and TilburgSchool of Politics and Public Administration (NL)
  • Aletta Norval, University of Essex (UK)
  • Severine Van Bommel, Wageningen University Research (WUR)
  • Hendrik Wagenaar, University of Sheffield (UK)
  • Dvora Yanow, Wageningen University (NL)
  • Philippe Zittoun, University of Lyon / IEP Grenoble (FR)


  • Faculté des sciences juridiques, politiques et sociales - Université Lille 2 - 1 place Déliot
    Lille, France (59)


  • Tuesday, February 03, 2015


  • policy, public, discours, actor, power, interpretive, international, policy-making, category, identity, participation, legitimisation


  • Jean-Gabriel Contamin
    courriel : jean-gabriel [dot] contamin [at] univ-lille [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Anne-Laure Thevenot
    courriel : anne-laure [dot] thevenot [at] univ-lille2 [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Policies and their publics: discourses, actors and power », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, January 15, 2015, https://calenda.org/314161

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